In terms of TikTok users having a safe and healthy environment, they have established guidelines and policies that users must follow. TikTok users have to agree to the Terms of Service when they create an account. When agreeing to that, users must confirm that they are 18 years old and if they aren’t, that they have had permission from their parent/guardian to use the platform. There is no way to actually monitor whether or not an adult has given them permission to use their account and users can also lie about their age to make it seem like they are older than they are. As with any social media platform, it is impossible to actually monitor the age of its users which can negatively impact the user.
One feature that TikTok includes that I have seen is a sensitive content warning that appears when a video contains things that people may not want to see. When this pops up, users have the option to either watch the video or skip it and it disappears. This gives users a choice as to whether or not they want to take the risk and watch the video. I think a beneficial thing for TikTok to add would be to give a subject of the video because people may be curious and click to watch it. There is no way to tell what the video is about and it could end up being something graphic or triggering to the user. When I first started using TikTok, I noticed that a lot of users would request a warning if the video contained flashing lights as this can cause users with epilepsy to have photosensitive seizures. I looked up that TikTok had added a photosensitive warning before the video would play however, I have never actually seen it on TikTok. I am not sure if users have the choice to add a video warning before the video is posted and I think that the addition of this feature could be beneficial to the TikTok community.
Other features that TikTok contains are the choice to report and block accounts, or press “not interested” so certain types of videos do not show up on their For You page. The choices to report the account are included in the screenshot below. There are many choices for reporting an account and once the account is reported, it is reviewed by a member who works for TikTok to determine whether the video should be taken down.
Users also have the option to block keywords from being typed in their comment section. For example, if a user doesn’t want the word “pizza” to appear in their comment section, they can block that word. This is beneficial for the mental health of many users as some people may find certain words triggering or offensive. Since people have preferences as to what can be seen, I think that TikTok should include some type of filter that allows users to choose what types of videos they would like to see or not see because even though the algorithm shows videos you may be interested in based on what you’re watching, it is not always perfect. I think that TikTok does a pretty good job of providing resources to give its users a healthy and safe environment however, it is a social media platform and with that, there is always a risk.
The New Croton Dam has plenty of outdoor space for visitors to enjoy a relaxing day with picnic tables and space for activities and to place blankets down. There are porta-potties available for visitors to use if they need to go to the bathroom. In terms of the hiking trails, I vaguely remember going on them and do not recall if there were any maps or trail markers. In the case that they do not have a map or trail markers, it would be beneficial for them to be added so that hikers can find their way back if they get lost on the trails. I have not seen a public phone there and I think that could benefit its visitors in the case of emergency so that they have easy access to calling for help.
There is a path that you can walk on over the New Croton Dam which has railings. The railings are relatively low and I have seen people go and sit on top of them. To ensure the safety of the visitors, there should be either higher railings and/or signs to remind visitors not to go over them. It also could be very easy for people to try and climb down to the actual dam from there which can be extremely dangerous for visitors if they attempt to do this. The picture below represents the right side of the top of the New Croton Dam where you can see how low the railings are. On the rights side, the railings are just as low however, there is a section on the left side that sits off of the path and is right above the dam. Next time I go, I will take a picture of it and upload it here.
Another section of the Dam is an area where you can walk to the water at the bottom. This is pictured below:
As you can see, these pictures show the bottom of the New Croton Dam. While this is nice for people to walk and sit by on the rocks, there are no safety procedures or guidelines put in place so that people do not go swimming. There is also a possibility that the water will rise which may pose a risk to visitors who go down there. The water coming from the dam is rough and can be dangerous to visitors who happen to go on or try and venture out.